Corbyn to make energy efficiency "national infrastructure priority"

Jeremy Corbyn has pledged that he will make energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority and set a target of 65 per cent of UK electricity from renewable sources by 2030 as part of his environment and energy manifesto if he leads the Labour Party to power.

The party also promises to create 300,000 jobs in the renewables sector, as well as use the National Investment Bank to invest in public and community-owned renewable energy, while promoting the growth of over 200 ‘local energy companies’ and support the development of 1,000 community energy co-operatives, with rights to sell energy directly to the areas they supply.

The Labour leader, speaking in Nottingham, claims he would invest heavily in energy saving, making building insulation a national infrastructure priority, introducing a national home insulation plan for at least 4m homes, while also backing the current government’s plan to phase out coal-fired power by 2025.

Corbyn’s proposed manifesto would also aim to outlaw fracking in an effort to make a quicker transition to a low-carbon economy and dramatically reduce the burning of fossil fuels.

Corbyn emphasises research which shows that as much as 80 per cent of known fossil fuel reserves must remain unburned if the world is to keep global temperature rises to 2oC.

“We want Britain to be the world’s leading producer of renewables technology. To achieve this we will accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, and drive the expansion of the green industries and jobs of the future,” he said.

“We will launch a publicly funded National Home Insulation programme that would see at least 4m homes insulated. This would create tens of thousands of jobs across every community, reducing the need for expensive new energy generation, and helping millions of people to save money on their bills.”

A spokesperson for Corbyn’s rival for the Labour leadership, Owen Smith, claims that it is "impossible for Jeremy Corbyn to speak with credibility on environmental policy".

"He has called for the reintroduction of deeply damaging open-cast coal mining and only had one meeting with his shadow environment team in nine months as leader,” he said.

Corbyn’s proposals have come under some scrutiny from industry experts, with Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary for Energy, arguing that wishful thinking doesn't generate the power we need to heat homes, keep the lights on and the economy functioning.

“Until there are technological breakthroughs in carbon capture or solar storage then gas and nuclear power are the only reliable, low-carbon shows in town for all those days when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow,” he commented.

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